Congress chief Sonia Gandhi launched the ambitious food security programme in Delhi in the presence of Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit. She said that the legal right to food security is “unparalleled” in the world and will ensure that no poor in India remains hungry.
The launch of the programme was coincided with the birth anniversary of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi. Seen as both a major welfare as well as populist move designed to swing votes for a beleaguered Congress in upcoming elections, the programme is expected to provide cheap staple food to two-thirds of the nation’s masses.
“We decided to formulate food security bill so that the poor do not remain hungry, their children do not sleep hungry and they do not suffer malnutrition,” Sonia Gandhi said at Talkatora Stadium in the national capital.
“The guarantee of food provided by the food security scheme on such a large scale is unparalleled in the world,” she declared, adding that states had benefitted from welfare schemes of United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.
Saying that the public distribution system had many shortcomings, the Congress chief said that the bill will reform PDS so that the “real beneficiaries get benefits and there is no scope of corruption”.
The food security bill is yet to be passed by parliament. The Delhi government unveiled the food security programme on the basis of an ordinance promulgated in June.
The Congress chief handed over food security ration cards to beneficiaries along with a 5 kg rice packet each.
Sonia Gandhi praised Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit for her efforts for implementing the programme. She also lauded Dikshit for transforming the infrastructure in the capital, saying the city was no longer the same as it used to be 15 years ago.